About 185 of KIPP's 440 employees in New Orleans attended a national summit for KIPP staffers in Nevada. The trip cost substantially more than the $69,400 that Friends of King spent on a staff-wide retreat in Biloxi, Miss. But Kipp's nine schools all have money in the bank, while one of Friends of King's two schools posted a $1 million deficit.
All of the approximately 180 employees of the two-school charter organization were invited to the Beau Rivage in August. The charter organization covered their hotel rooms and meals. A week later, CEO Doris Roché-Hicks told staff at one school that their pay would be cut 2 percent. That move saved about as much as the retreat cost.
Charter boards overseeing 17 schools must decide by the end of the year if they want to move from the Recovery School District to the Orleans Parish School Board. But there are still reasons for schools to stay put, such as funding issues and concerns about the management and leadership of the local school system.
Looked at from several different angles, New Orleans public schools have a comparatively high percentage of possible cheating on standardized tests, The Lens has found after reviewing the most recent state data available. Testing experts offered a broadly accepted rationale: cheating tends to increase when standardized tests are used for rewards and punishments of schools, teachers or students. For a variety of reasons, New Orleans schools have more riding on the outcome of test scores than public schools elsewhere in the state.